One of the symbols of Sofia, this magnificent cathedral was built after the Liberation of Bulgaria. Its domes are covered in gold, and the sound of its bells can be heard as far as 7.5 miles (12 km) away. There is an icon museum where you can see some fine examples of the Bulgarian Orthodox Christian art.
When this ancient basilica gave the name of the city, it was outside of the city limits, on a nearby hill. Nowadays, it functions as a church on the street level, but you can head down to its catacombs where hundreds of ancient graves were found.
Sofia has a vibrant park life – from the first warm days of spring, all parks and public gardens in the capital are full of students, families, and elderly people, all enjoying the sun in their own way. Some of the best green spots are Borisova Garden and the South Park, where you might also happen across live performances or festivals.
Located in the building of the old public mineral baths, this museum will rather interactively immerse you into Sofia’s past. You can sit on an old tram or see the golden royal carriage of Ferdinand I, a present from Marie Antoinette.
The typical Bulgarian breakfast is hearty, often deep fried or baked with much butter so you don’t really need to hurry for lunch. Mekitsa is a deep fried pastry similar to doughnut, while banitsa is baked with Bulgarian white cheese and eggs.
Sofia has numerous mineral springs, and some of them pour directly out of drinking fountains in the center of the city. You will see people with huge bottles taking water home, as it’s better than the tap water.
Sofia is lucky enough to have a mountain within a public bus ride. Vitosha Mountain is a natural park with many marked routes, ski slopes, mountain chalets, and hotels. Take a map from the tourist information office in Sofia, and go on a leisure walk or climb the highest peak, Cherni Vrah (7513 ft./ 2290 m).
Studentski Grad (Students Town) is the city area where university dorms are spread out among bars, cafés, and nightclubs. Its atmosphere is fresh and happy, and the party goes on all night long, every single day. Just hop on bus 280 or bus 94 from the city center to take you to the Mecca of entertainment.
Sofia is said to be the only European city to have places of worship for four different religions situated within a block of each other. The so-called Square of Religious Tolerance comprises St. Nedelya Orthodox Church, Banya Bashi Mosque, St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral, and Sofia Synagogue, and they coexist peacefully together.